Intentional, focused thinking is the best way to stay ahead in today’s rapidly changing marketplace. Great firms understand this and make every effort to capitalize on the collective intelligence of the firm’s staff.
John Maxwell’s book, Thinking for a Change explores how skilled thinking can increase both personal and professional success. Maxwell notes, "Those who embrace good thinking as a lifestyle understand the relationship between their level of thinking and their level of progress.”
This statement is particularly applicable to professional services firms. In order to provide great service, firm employees must challenge themselves to continually improve and think past common solutions and practices.
After the dust settles from tax season, the time is ripe to use strategic thinking and plan for your firm’s future. Maxwell explains several benefits of strategic thinking:
- Strategic thinking simplifies the difficult
- Strategic thinking prompts you to ask the RIGHT questions
- Strategic thinking prompts customization
- Strategic thinking reduces the margin of error
- Strategic thinking prepares you today for an uncertain tomorrow
- Strategic thinking gives you influence with others
Strategic thinking is most effective when a structure and guidelines are in place. This allows the most energy to be focused on the important issues. Maxwell lists the following steps for successful strategic thinking:
- Break down the issue
- Ask why before how
- Identify the real issues and objectives
- Review your resources
- Develop your plan
- Put the right people in the right place
- Keep repeating the process
The Boomer Advantage Guide to Strategic Planning is a collection of tools that have helped numerous firms systematically address many of Maxwell’s points on strategic thinking. L. Gary Boomer says the following about the importance and benefits of documenting a strategic plan: "In order to maximize your profitability, you need a written plan detailing your firm’s strategy. This will reduce the time required, build consensus, provide consistent communications, and insure accountability.”
The tools in The Boomer Advantage Guide to Strategic Planning include a worksheet to help identify your firm’s D.O.S (dangers, opportunities and strengths), The 10X Growth Model, guidelines on defining or renewing mission and vision statements and sample, one-page plans for overall strategy, technology and marketing. In addition to gathering the best tools, an outside facilitator will enhance the planning process by providing an unbiased and
The best of the best firms make good thinking a priority throughout the year. Make a commitment to place strategic thinking and planning at the top of your firm’s priority list today.